Skip to main content

Full text of "Rasgueados Are For Everyone: the guitarist's rasgueado method"

See other formats


Terms of use: 

You are free to download, print, email, share, and use this file and its collective and individual 
components of information (hereafter: "text") for non-profit educational purposes only. You 
may not: 

1. Sell, trade, or profit from text or its use. 

2. Alter text and/or PDF file and/or the author's copyright. 

3. Translate text into another language or use text as basis for derivative work. 

4. Use text as basis for any fraudulent activity, academic or commercial. 

5. Use text in submission to any publication, academic or commercial, without express written 
consent from the author. 



Thank You, 

Nitin Arora 
Charleston, SC, USA 
December 2006 



nitaro74@yahoo.com 
www.humaneguitarist.org 



© Nitin Arora 





m m f 




or V verrotie 



■.f:^ r.j,:|^ 



W Nlrln Kr€rrcL 



. m \ 




© Nitin Arora 



psQueaoos m "i 




or t mm 



v' I'r 



W Nirin Krora. 



Rasgueados Are for Everyone : V. 2 

© 1996 Nitin Arora. 
All Rights Reserved. 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any way or by any means. Failure to 
comply is illegal and punishable by the law. 



art on cover by Francisco Goya, circa 1796. 
Prado Number: 468 



© Nitin Arora 



A^ckr>o>vLeciaerr>er> Cs 



Mom and Dad and the rest of my family; Amy Bragg, Jim Buckland, Elizabeth 
Martin, Donny Parker, Dave Stancik, Chris Stock, Karen Wisser; Caroline Bell, 
Christopher Berg, Peter Go lata, Marty N., and my other teachers - past and present; 
Drs. Richard Helman & Sidney Morrison; Robin Lee (for physical therapy); the writings 
of Dr. Richard Norris & Dennis Zacharcow; the Ergo Cush'^'^; Bogen Photo Corp.; 
Dover Pubhcations (thanks Regina); Paco Pena; Boris Becker & Michael Chang; Chris 
Carter, David Duchovny, & Gillian Anderson; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edward 
Hardwicke/David Burke, & the late Jeremy Brett; the motion pictures Amadeus & 
Excalibur ; Norse mythology; J.R.R Tolkien & Lloyd Alexander; Jack the Ripper; 
Spider-Man, and anyone or anything I may have accidentally left out. 

This book is dedicated to the late Jeremy Brett. 



© Nitin Arora 



^TcxtLe o-F CTorjtrerjtrs 



pcvae -4- - |3-re"rcvce 

pcxqe 6 — 1r»r:r'c><iu.cz:tc»r> 

pcxqe o — CJ-fottp I 

pcxae 13 - CJ-rou-p 2 

pouae lO - CJi^c»u.p 3 

poLcje 19 - CJ-rotip -4 

pcLae 25 - Suipe-r |icvscjvteoulos 

pcxqe 2T — Or> lr>co-rpc»-rcxt:tr>ci jicLsquiecuios 

pcxqe 30 - visu-clL DtcCrtor>cv-rY' 
pcx^c 



le ^T - CToncLu-sloD 



-3 



© Nitin Aroria 



Pi-ef 



Although this book is a rasgueado method for players of the classical guitar no 
matter what style of music they play, it is primarily directed towards classical guitarists. 
It is intended for advanced players. It assumes that the reader has good technique and 
problem solving skills. It also assumes that the reader plays right handed. If you iind this 
book to be too difficult try coming back to it at a later date. 

This book does not present every rasgueado pattern possible. It does, however, 
present what the author believes to be the information needed to aquire more than 
sufficient rasgueado technique. 

Some of the ideas presented here are vastly different than what you will encounter 
in books which present some discussion of rasgueado technique. The author firmly 
believes in his approach and believes that the lack of good rasgueado technique amongst 
most players proves the existence of a general misunderstanding regarding this technique. 

Finally, many of the terms used in this book were created specifically for 
Rasgueados Are for Everyone . It was necessary to do this so that a detailed explanation 
of rasgueados could occur. 

Enjoy... 



-4- 



© Nitin Arora 

pr'eLtmirjcvr'^ CTer-ms 

these are terms to which I shall be referring 



fingers: 

"c" - little or "pinkie" finger 
"a"- annular or "ring" finger 
"m" - middle finger 
i" - index finger 



?t!lt 



other: 

"p" - thumb 



other terms (these terms apply to the fingers, remember that the thumb is not a finger.) 
extension - when from the "fist position" (which will be explained later) a finger is brought 
outward and the finger joints become roughly aligned. 

flexion - the bending of a finger at one or more of the finger joints. 

contraction - when fi-om an extended position a finger is brought, or curled, inward and 
returned to the palm. Flexion occurs in the knuckle, middle, and tip joints, do not 
confiise this with muscle contraction or muscle "shrinking"; in this book "contraction" 
means "to be brought together" (with the palm point) 

palm point - the area of the palm at which a finger is positioned before an outstroke and 
after a contraction. The dots in the photograph below show the approximate location of 
the palm points. The dots correspond with the finger under which they lie. 




outstroke - an extension of the finger which sounds the strings, from those of lower pitch 
to higher, with the outer part of the nail, notated by ^ 

instroke - a flexion of the finger at the middle and knuckle joints which sounds the strings, 
fromthoseofhigher pitch to lower, with the inner part of the nail, notated by ^l' 

* other terms will be presented as necessary 



© Nitin Arora 



1 rjc^^r^odttccrion 

Rasgueados are the guitarist's method of strumming. Although originating in the 
classical tradition, one must turn to flamenco guitar to hear this technique pushed to the 
limit. The terms derives from the Spanish verb "rasguear" which means to strum a guitar 
or make flourishes with a pen. Yet, in the hands of a good flamenco player the term 
seems more likely to have come from the verb "rasgar" which means to tear or to rip! 

As far as the general guitar population is concerned, flamenco guitarists are well 
known for two things: rasgueados and fast rest stroke scales. Interestingly enough, the 
two may be related. Rasgueado practise helps develop the extensor muscles of the right 
hand which in turn increases that hand's overall strength. Many people feel that highly 
developed extensor muscles in the right hand will cause a finger, during a finger stroke, 
to return more quickly to its "starting" position after the stroke is made. The idea being: 
the faster you can get that finger back to its starting position, the faster you can begin to 
move it back towards the string. This would seem to make sense since an increase in 
speed is actually the diminution of time between strokes and not an increase in the speed 
of the stroke itself Furthermore, rasgueado practise warms up your fingers and it's FUN! 

Sadly, complex rasgueado practise is an often neglected area of classical guitar 
technique. Many players feel that they will never employ the technique and therefore 
ignore it. Others may feel that they can always use the standard up/down strumming of 
the "i" finger. Although there are instances where strumming with "i" is not only easier 
but more appropriate, there might be times when you need to achieve a different effect. 
Unfortunately, there are several guitarists who are limited to "i only" rasgueados due to 
the lack of good and reliable explanations of more complex patterns. I hope that, in some 
small way, I can help change this. After all, rasgueados are for everyone. 

So how do you go about practising this technique? The same way you practise 
anything: Slowly and Thoughtfully. For whatever reason, many good players feel that 
they should be able to develop rapid rasgueados in no time at all. The word "strum" 
doesn't exactly conjure up images of difficulty. If you ever feel like this and start to rush 
or even give up, ask yourself if you developed fast scales in a very short time? 
...arpeggios? ...musicality? I doubt it. Anything done well takes time and patience. A 
fast eight note rasgueado sequence should be just as even as an eight note scale passage 
played with "i" and "m" rest strokes. 

Unlike other areas of guitar technique, rasgueados can and SHOULD be practised 
away from the guitar. Alternating your "i" and "m" fingers in the air won't give you a 
blazing rest stroke. This is not the case for rasgueados. They may be practised in the air, 
against the wrist of your left hand, or even against your knee! You might think that this 
is silly, if not stupid, but it's good for you. Practising rasgueados like this discourages 
the tendency to rush, as with the guitar in hand, and encourages one to watch the fingers 
and perfect the moment when individual fingers extend and contract. You won't master 



© Nitin Arora 



rasgueados by only practising them away from the guitar, but you won't master 
rasgueados by only practising them on the guitar. You need to do both. 

When practising rasgueados strive for evenness as opposed to speed. If you do 
things right at first, speed will not be hard to achieve. In fact, it's much easier to play fast 
rasgueados than it is to play them slowly. You do, however, have to play them slowly in 
order to perfect the motions. Remember: It's better to play something slower and true as 
opposed to rapidly playing that which lacks integrity. 

The proper use of tension is also important to good rasgueado technique. Having 
the right amount of tension in the fist position will aide you in your quest for rhythmic 
evenness and control. You'll need to experiment in order to find the right amount of 
tension. As your rasgueados get faster, less tension will be used. Tension will create 
resistance and friction between the fingers and the palm. Being able to control this 
amount of friction is paramount if you plan to execute rasgueados well and at various 
speeds. Tension gets a bad rap but the term is tossed about too freely. Tension is a lot 
like cholesterol. There are good kinds and bad kinds. Without the good kind you cannot 
survive just as without "good tension" you cannot play the guitar well. "Bad tension" is 
that which is unnecessary, can cause pain, hinders playing, and resuhs in wasted energy. 
People often use the "bad tension" when attempting rasgueados by "squeezing" while in 
the fist position and forcefiilly "pushing" the finger out. This, Uke other Iruitless 
approaches to rasgueados, consists of too much effort and too little thought. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that you won't always be stroking the same 
strings or the same number of strings as you play rasgueados. Nevertheless, one thing 
you REALLY don't want to do is something like this: let's say you are playing a triplet 
rasgueado such as that which you'll encounter as Chapter 1: figure 2 ...if "m" and "i" 
make their outstrokes and only sound strings 5, 4, 3, and 2 (the "B" string) then you 
absolutely DO NOT want the "i" instroke to sound strings 1, 2, and 3. The high "E" will 
stand out too much and sound really corny. Just use your ear and don't worry about 
trying to always strum the exact same strings ...it's not going to happen but it should 
sound like its happening. 

To help get a particular pattern going you should practise it with various rhj^hmic 
patterns, just as you probably do with scales. Also, practise EVERY permutation of 
each rasgueado. Some permutations may work out better for you than the "original". 
Permutations will also come in handy if, for example, you have to play a Group 1 : 4 note 
rasgueado but are forced because of previous notes to start on the "i" outstroke as 
opposed to the "a" outstroke. 

I divide rasgueados into four primary groups which are presented in the first four 
chapters. After that I've included chapters on combinatory rasgueados, super rasgueados, 
and incorporating rasgueados. Remember to be patient! 



-7 



© Nitin Arora 

The first of the four groups I alluded to is that which employs outstrokes of the 
fingers and ends with an "i" instroke. The thumb does not play and does not actively 
participate in the finger movements. The thumb should rest on either the string of lowest 
pitch or on the side of the fi-etboard around the nineteenth fi-et; this prevents cutting off 
the lowest string fi-om sounding. At this point simply strum on open strings to avoid 
complexity and the use of the left hand. Now we must assume the fist position. For now, 
it may better to work without the guitar. 

To make the appropriate fist position for rasgueados start with a totally loose and 
relaxed hand. Since, in a relaxed position, your fingers will be slightly extended you 
must now contract them and bring the tips of the nails against the peilm points. Flexion 
will occur at the knuckle, middle, and tip joints of your fingers. Your thumb should not 
rap around the "i" and "m" fingers (you aren't going to hit someone). Your hand should 
now look like the fist below... 




The fist needs to be relaxed but firm. It should not be so tight so that you are 
squeezing, yet not so relaxed that if you jiggle your hands violently your fingers will flop 
around. There should actually be enough space between the fingers and the palm so that 
you can just barely slide a pencil through the gap! Position the fist so that if you were to 
extend a finger it would strike the strings at approximately a 45° angle. Your wrist should 
be straight. Remember to rest that thumb on the string of lowest pitch or on the side of 
the iretboard. 

Many players find finger outstrokes diflBcult. If you can make the fist position and 
then in one motion open your hand up (so that it looks like the photograph below) you can 
make an outstroke with any finger. The key is to, through the use of tension, prevent all 
but the finger you want to make the outstroke with fi-om extending. That's pretty much it! 




Finger instrokes don't require much explanation. They are like fi^ee strokes except 
that you sound more than one string and continue to follow through until the finger 
returns to its palm point. Remember that instrokes are made by flexing the knuckle and 

-8- 



© Nitin Arora 



middle joints. The tip joint collapses as it comes into contact with the strings. After the 
linger leaves the strings the tip joint "un-collapses" and the finger continues to move 
towards the palm until it contracts back to its palm point. Flexion wiU now be present in 
the knuckle, middle, and tip joints. 

Contractions are similar to instrokes except that the tip joint never collapses due to 
the fact that no string will be contacted. If you can make your hand look like the "open 
hand" in the second picture and then instantly assume the fist position, you can make any 
necessary contractions. 

Keep in mind that finger outstrokes, instrokes, and contractions cannot be 
practised slowly. For example, trying to make a slow outstroke is impossible because you 
either extend the finger or you don't. If you tried to slowly curl the finger outward you'd 
no longer just be extending the finger; you would be initiating a series of complex muscle 
activity (which is what you don't want to do). Practising slowly is not slowing down the 
strokes. Practising slowly is augmenting the time between the strokes. 



I. The first rasgueado is the famous "i" outstroke followed by an "i" instroke. Remember 
that your fingers do the playing ...so leave your elbow out of it! 

2 Note Rasgueado (Figure 1) 

1 . Assume the fist position. Remove "c", "a", and "m" from the fist and relax them. 

2. Make an outstroke with "i". "m" will extend further as a result. 

3. Make and instroke with "i". "m" slightly follows, "i" eventually returns to its pakn 
point but flexion cannot be present in the tip joint since the finger must immediately 
make an outstroke. Exceptions like this wiU always be specified. Otherwise, after an 
instroke, "i" will contract back to its pakn point and flexion wUl be present in the knuckle, 
middle , and tip joints. 

4. Go to step 2. 

Figure 1 



i 



t -^ 



II. Now that the two note rasgueado is out of the way we can add to it to form a three 
note, or triplet, rasgueado. Just add an "m" outstroke to the two note rasgueado. 

3 Note Rasgueado (Figure 2) 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove "c" and "a" from the fist and relax them. 

2. Make an outstroke with "m". "a" wiU extend further as a result. 



© Nitin Arora 



3. Make an outstroke with "i". simultaneously, "m" contracts back to its palm point, 
and "c" follow but will not fully contract or touch their palm points. 

4. Make an instroke with "i". "i" eventually contracts back to its palm point. 

5. Make an outstroke with "m". "c" and "a" extend as a result. 

6. Go to step 3. 

Figure 2 



>j )j )j >j >j )j ^ 1 



If you are not going to repeat the three note rasgueado (Figure 2a) you should 
practise as above except that in step 3 "m" does not have to contract. You should, 
however, practise Figure 2a with and without "m" contraction. When practising without 
the contraction, flexion will not occur in the tip joint of "i" during the completion of its 
instroke and "i" wiU relax afterwards. 

Figure 2a 



X X X ^ 



^ ^ 4^ 



III. Of course the next logical step is to add a note to the triplet rasgueado to form a four 
note rasgueado. This time the "a" finger will be added. 



4 Note Rasgueado (Figure 3) 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove "c" fi-om the fist and relax it. 

2. Make an outstroke with "a", "c" wiU extend further as a result. 

3. Make and outstroke with "m". "a" wiU extend fiirther as a result. 

4. Make an outstroke with "i". simultaneously, "a" and "m" contract back to their palm 
points, "c" follows but does not fiilly contract or touch its palm point. 

5. Make an instroke with "i". "i" eventually contracts back to its pakn point. 

6. Make an outstroke with "a". 

7. Go to step 3. 



Figure 3 



-10- 



© Nitin Arora 



amii amii 



>l .1 .! A 



'^■t'^^^'^'^'^^^ 



Also practise Figure 3 a with and without the contractions in step 4. When 
practising without the contractions, flexion will not occur in the tip joint of "i" during the 
completion of its instroke and "i" will relax afterwards. 



Figure 3a 



ami 



>\ >l J .1 



1- t -t sL- 



IV. And finally we add the black sheep of the family: the pinkie. With the addition of 
this finger you can play a five note rasgueado. Again, all you basically need to do is add a 
"c" outstroke to the four note rasgueado you just learned. 



5 Note Rasgueado (Figure 4) 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make an outstroke with "c". 

3. Make an outstroke with "a", "c" will extend fiirther as a result. 

4. Make an outstroke with "m". "a" will extend fiirther as a result. 

5. Make an outstroke with "i". simultaneously, "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their 
palm points. 

6. Make an instroke with "i". "i" eventually contracts back to its palm point. 

7. Go to step 2. 



Figure 4 



camii camii 



XXXXXXXXXX 



Also practise Figure 4a with and without the contractions in step 5. When 
practising without the contractions, flexion will not occur in the tip joint of "i" during the 
completion of its instroke and "i" will relax afterwards. 

Figure 4a 



- 11 - 



© Nitin Arora 



c a m 1 1 



X >< X X X ^ ^= 1 



That raps it up for Group 1 patterns. It is vital that you remember and pay very 
close attention to the act of contracting your fingers during the "i" outstroke within the 3, 
4, and 5 note continuous rasgueados. As for the 2 note rasgueado, "i" will not, at faster 
speeds, touch its palm point during the instroke. Also, with the 2 note rasgueado you can 
leave "c", "a", and "m" fixed against their palm points. 

With these patterns you may also, after the "i" outstroke, plant "i" on the second 
string (or whichever string you choose to start from) before you make the instroke. This 
will only work at slower speeds, but it's good training for accuracy. 



12 



© Nitin Arora 



If you've practised the Group 1 patterns you might have realised that (at faster 
speeds) during the 3, 4, and 5 note pattern "i" outstrokes you can get the other iiingers, 
during their contraction, pretty close to their palm points and REALLY get them set up 
during the "i" instroke. The great thing about Group 1 patterns is that the "i" instroke 
buys you more time. With Group 2 patterns you essentially remove the "i" instroke from 
the Group 1 patterns. Hence, your timing must be more precise. 

Group 2, like Group 1, avoids the use of the thumb. The thumb rest in the same 
manner as in Group 1 . Also, if Group 1 was difficult for you don't be afraid of these new 
patterns. Go ahead and try! While I consider Group 2 to be the more diflScult of the two 
groups, you might think differently! At the very least you'll be adding variety to your 
practise. Don't be hesitant. That will just lessen the probability that you can do these. 

With Group 2 you'll learn 2, 3, and 4 note rasgueado patterns. 



2 Note Rasgueado (Figure 1) 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c" and "a". 

2. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends fiirther as a result. 

3. Make an "i" outstroke. simultaneously, "m" contracts back to its palm point, "c" and 
"a" follow but do not fiilly contract or touch their pahn points. 

4. Make an "m" outstroke. "c" and "a" extend as a result, simultaneously, "i" contracts 
back to its palm point. 

5. Go to step 3. 

Figure 1 



Also practise Figure la with and without the contraction in step 3. 
Figure la 



4 



-f 



13- 



© Nitin Arora 



3 Note Rasgueado (Figure 2) 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c". 

2. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends fiirther as a result. 

3. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "i" outstroke. simultaneously, "a" and "m" contract back to their palm 
points, "c" follows but does not fully contract or touch its palm point. 

5. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends as a result, simultaneously, "i" contracts back to 
its palm point. 

6. Go to step 3. 

Figure 2 








y 9 


II 


-flk-? — ii 


ii ii ii ^ ii s\ 


4©-^, '-^ 11 



Also practise Figure 2a with and without the contractions in step 4. 
Figure 2a 



^ -1^ t- 



4 Note Rasgueado (Figure 3) 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 

3. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

5. Make an "i" outstroke. simultaneously, "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their palm 
points. 

6. Make a "c" outstroke. simultaneously, "i" contracts back to its pahn point. 

7. Go to step 3. 



Figure 3 



caitii cami 




/K A\ /N -^ /K A\ A\ /K 



14 



© Nitin Arora 



Also practise Figure 3 a with and without the contractions in Step 5. 
Figure 3a 



c a m 1 




'l^ 1^ t- t 



I personally prefer the permutation of these patterns which begins on the "i" 
outstroke. This helps to create a natural accent on the beginning of the beat. In the 3 and 
4 note patterns "i" will, at faster speeds, totally contract one linger stroke after the linger 
stroke at which "i" initially contracts. For example, during the four note pattern "i" 
makes an initial move toward the palm during the "c" outstroke but truly gets set during 
the "a" outstroke. This is analogous to the "time buying 'i' instroke" of Group 1. 



15- 



© Nitin Arora 



While the first and second group rasgueados did not involve the thumb, these 
patterns do. Group 3 involves outstrokes of the fingers and an instroke of the thumb. The 
thumb instroke uses the outer part of the nail and sounds the strings Irom those of higher 
pitch to lower. 

Before we begin I need to describe, as opposed to defining, some new terms. 
These are pronation and supination. In order to do this follow these instructions... 

1 . Stand up and be loose. Your arms should be dangling at your sides. 

2. Now flex the joint at the elbow in your right arm. You should now be seeing the 
palmar side of your hand. Assume the fist position. 

3. Now pretend that you write an "S" on this side of your hand. 

4. Rotate your forearm so that you now see the dorsal side of your hand. Your thumb 
will initially point to the right, secondly towards you, and finally to the lefl; as this 
happens. 

5. Write an imaginary "P" on this side of your hand. 

6. Rotate your forearm so that you see the "S" side again. Your th^mlb will initially point 
to the left, secondly towards you, and finally the right as this happens. 

While your hands are in guitar playing position the act of rotating your forearm 
fi-om the "S" side to the "P" side is pronation. Rotating the forearm so that ti-om the "P" 
side you see the "S" side is supination. 

Thumb Instroke 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Let the thumb hover slightly past the highest pitched string; the paknar side of the 
hand will be facing the soundboard. You may lightly rest the outer nail of the thumb on 
the highest pitched string. 

3. Supinate the forearm so that the thumb will end up past the lowest pitched string. 
Make sure that the strings are contacted during this motion and a strum is produced which 
sounded from higher pitches to lower. The thumb should be held shghtly rigid during this 
motion. Remember that this is a rotation of the forearm and not an elbow flexion! 

Group 3 contains 2, 3, 4, and 5 note patterns. 



2 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c", "a", and "m". 

2. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends fiirther as a result, simultaneously pronate the 
forearm so that "p" passes the string of highest pitch. 

3. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "i" contracts back to its palm point, "m" shghtly 
follows. 



16- 



4. Go to step 2. 



© Nitin Arora 



i 



i 



f 



•J. 



3 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assiime the fist position. Remove and relax "c" and "a". 

2. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

3. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends further as a result, simultaneously pronate the 
forearm until "p" passes the string of highest pitch. 

4. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "m" and "i" contract back to their pahn points. 
"c" and "a" follow but do not fully contract or touch their palm points. 

5. Make an "m" outstroke. "c" and "a" extend as a result. 

6. Go to step 3. 



1^ ^ sP t 



^ 



4 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c". 

2. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends further as a result. 

3. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends further as a result, simultaneously pronate the 
forearm until "p" passes the string of highest pitch. 

5. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their palm 
points, "c" follows but does not fiilly contract or touch its palm point. 

6. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends as a result. 

7. Go to step 3. 




'^'^'^^^'1^■t'^^^ 



5 Note Rasgueado 



-17 



© Nitin Arora 



1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 

3. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends fUrther as a result. 

5. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends fiirther as a result, simultaneously pronate the 
forearm untU "p" passes the string of highest pitch. 

6. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously "c", "a 
palm points. 

7. Go to step 2. 



"m", and "i" contract back to their 



camip camip 



XXX 



XXX 



^^^^^l,^^'^tv^ 



At faster speeds your forearm won't necessarily be pronating and supinating all the 
way past the highest and lowest pitched strings, respectively. Another thing that will 
occur at faster speeds is that, during the 2 note rasgueado, flexion wUl begin to diminish 
(and eventually disappear) in the tip joint of "i" (while contracting) during the "p" 
instroke. Also, "i" will, at this speed, not actually (while contracting) touch the palm 
point during the "p" instroke. The 2 note rasgueado also works very well with "c", "a", 
and "m" fixed against their palm points. 

Many players prefer the permutation of these patterns which begins on the "p" 
instroke. This helps to define the beat. See what you like! 



18- 



© Nitin Arora 



This is the last of the primary groups. Just as Group 2 was directly related to 
Group 1, Group 4 is related to Group 3. Group 4 involves outstrokes of the fingers, a 
thumb outstroke, and a thumb instroke. 

Let me explain the mechanics of a thumb outstroke which uses the inner part of the 
nail. 

Thumb Outstroke 

1. Assume the fist position. 

2. Let the thumb hover slightly past the string of lowest pitch. You may lightly rest the 
inner part of the nail on the string of lowest pitch. 

3. Pronate the forearm so that the thvimb will end up slightly past the string of highest 
pitch. You must contact the strings while you do this so that the strings are sounded fi-om 
those of lower pitch to higher. The thumb must be held slightly rigid during this motion. 
Remember that this is a rotation of the forearm and not an elbow movement. 

Group 4 gives us 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 note rasgueado patterns. 



2 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "p" outstroke. 

3. Make a "p" instroke. 

4. Go to step 2. 



t 4- 



3 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c", "a", and "m". 

2. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends fiirther as a result. 

3. Make a "p" outstroke. 

4. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "i" contracts back to its palm point, "m" slightly 
follows. 

5. Go to step 2. 



19- 



© Nitin Arora 



I 



t -r 4^ 



t -J. 



4 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c" and "a". 

2. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

3. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends further as a result. 

4. Make a "p" outstroke. 

5. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "m" and "i" contract back to their palm points, 
"c" and "a" follow but do not fully contract or touch their palm points. 

6. Make an "m" outstroke. "c" and "a" extend as a result. 

7. Go to step 3. 



p p 



J J J J J J =!|| 



■tt''^^^^1"'^^^ 



5 Note Rasgueado 

1 . Assume the fist position. Remove and relax "c". 

2. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends fiirther as a result. 

3. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends fiirther as a result. 

5. Make a "p" outstroke. 

6. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their palm 
points, "c" follows but does not fiilly contract or touch its palm point. 

7. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends as a result. 

8. Go to step 3. 

ami pp ami pp 



XXXXXXXXXX - 



-t't'^'^4't■■t-1^'^^^ 



6 Note Rasgueado 

1. Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 



20- 



© Nitin Arora 



3. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends further as a result. 

4. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

5. Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends further as a result. 

6. Make a "p" outstroke. 

7. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "c", "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their 
palm points. 

8. Go to step 2. 



ca mipp ca mipp 



AXXXXXXAXXAX 



^ yp ^ y^ ^ ^ ^ y^ ^ ^ y^ ^ 



The 2 note rasgueado may be played with the fingers fixed against their palm 
points and the 3 note rasgueado may be played with "c", "a", and "m" fixed against their 
pakn points. 

As with the 2 note rasgueado in Group 3, flexion will begin to diminish and 
eventually disappear in the tip joint of "i" (while contracting) within the Group 4: 3 note 
rasgueado's "p" instroke. Also, "i" will, at this speed, not actually (while contracting) 
touch the palm point during the "p" instroke. This paragraph does not apply if this pattern 
is played with "c", "a", and "m" fixed against their palm points. 

That's it for Group 4 patterns. One fun thing you can do is to play the 3, 4, and 5 
note rasgueados while keeping the "i" finger fixed against its palm point. Of course if you 
do this you must replace "a" with "c", "m" with "a", and "i" with "m" in the instructions 
since "i" cannot play. I love Group 4 patterns done like this; it adds stability to the hand. 
Mess with it. You may or may not like it. 



-21 - 



© Nitin Arora 



CombtrjcvC^OT^'y' ]<^cvso|U.ecx<ios 

After you've gotten familiar with the primary four groups you're ready to get a 
little creative. This brings us to a group of rasgueados which I call combinatory 
rasgueados. These rasgueados involve the combining or superimposition of two or more 
rasgueado patterns from the primary four groups to form a hybrid pattern. Obviously, 
there is an infinite number of patterns you can make and several ways of deriving the same 
pattem(isthenumber 3 thesumof2+l, 1+2, or 1+1+1? ...that sort of thing). For this 
reason I can only show you a few patterns in the hope that you'll understand how to form 
your own combinatory rasgueados. It's more important to learn the concept than it is to 
necessarily learn the particular patterns I've chosen. In this chapter I've included 4, 5, 6, 
and 8 note patterns as well as a 16 note sequence for demonstrative purposes. These 
types of rasgueados can be very usefiil as a replacement for the certain primary patterns 
which you may find difficult. You do, however, need a pretty good grasp on the primary 
patterns and their permutations before you start with these. If you are ready then you'll 
have a lot of fiin with this stuff. I won't be presenting step by step instructions for these 
since they come from what you have learned in the previous chapters and since it would 
defeat the purpose. I will, however, be providing tips to guide you through them. 

The derivations of these patterns are presented as standard mathematical problems. 



4 Note Rasgueado = Group 1: 2 note rasgueado + Group 4: 2 note rasgueado 

tip: "i" remains contracted (and without tip joint flexion) during the "p" strokes. You 
may play this with or without "c", "a", and "m" fixed against their palm points. 

i i p p i i p P 




t-i'tO' tO'^vl^ 



5 Note Rasgueado = permutation of Group 2: 3 note rasgueado + Group 1: 2 note 
rasgueado 

tip : "i" contracts back to its palm point during the second stroke which is an "a" 
outstroke. "a" and "m" contract back to their palm points during the fourth stroke which 
is an "i" outstroke. 



-22 



© Nitin Arora 



lamii laitiii 



1 



XXXXXXXXX) ^ 



'^'^'^'^^^'^'^'^'t^^ 



6 Note Rasgueado = permutation of Group 2: 4 note rasgueado + Group 1: 2 note 
rasgueado 

tip : "i" contracts back to its palm point during the second stroke which is a "c" outstroke. 
"c", "a", and "m" contract back to their palm points during the fifth stroke which is an 
"i" outstroke. 

icami i i camii 



XXXXXXXXXXX X- 



^/|^/|^/|S/Jv4,^^/|V/IV^4, 



8 Note Rasgueado = permutation of Group 2: 3 note rasgueado + permutation of 
Group 4: 5 note rasgueado 

tip: "i" contracts back to its palm point during the second stroke which is an "a" 
outstroke. "a" and "m" and "i" contract back to their palm points during the sixth stroke 
which is a "p" instroke. "a" and "m" contract back to their pahn points during the first 
stroke which is an "i" outstroke (during subsequent repetitions). 

iami PP am 



>\ >i >i >l 



^y^y^y^y^^y^y^ 



8 Note Rasgueado = permutation of Group 3: 4 Note Rasgueado + permutation of 
Group 1: 4 Note Rasgueado 

tip : "a" and "m" contract back to their palm points during the fourth stroke which is an "i" 
outstroke. "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their palm points during the "p" instroke 
(during subsequent repetitions). 



-23 



© Nitin Arora 



pami limi 




s|/1''h1^4'-t1"-t 



16 Note Rasgueado Sequence = permutation of Group 2: 4 note rasgueado + 
(permutation of Group 2: 3 note rasgueado + "i" outstroke) + 2(permutation of 
Group 1: 4 note rasgueado) 

t^: "i" contracts back to its palm point during the second stroke which is a "c" outstroke. 
"i" contracts back to its palm point during the sixth stroke which is an "a" outstroke. "a" 
and "m" contract back to their palm points during the fifth, eight, and twelfth strokes 
which are "i" outstrokes. 

icamiamiiami iami 



j ^nm^rm ^B 



XX X X 



/|^/f^/[^/|\^^/|^^^/|syf./p.^^^^ 



Now that was fim wasn't it?! One thing you want to be aware of with combinatory 
rasgueados is grouping. The sixteen note sequence will sound Uke 4 + 4 + 4 + 4. The six 
note rasgueado wUl sound like a sextuplet unless you want to make it sound like two 
triplets. You can always change the grouping through accentuation and rhythmic 
manipulation. Go nuts with it if you want to. 



-24 



© Nitin Arora 



Now for Super Rasgueados! Super Rasgueados are more fim than they are 
practical but you should practise them anyway. They are not as hard as they look and are 
an excellent exercise for the hand. If practised enough, they can become very practical 
indeed. 

As with the two note rasgueado of Group 1 , flexion will not be present in the tip 
joint of a finger which after an instroke must make an immediate outstroke. These 
occurrences are denoted by asterisks. 



12 Note Rasgueado 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 

3. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends fiirther as a result. 

*4. Make an "a" instroke. "c" follows but does not fully contract or touch its palm point. 
5. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends as a result. 

"a" extends fiuther as a result. 

"a" follows but does not fially contract or touch its palm point. 

"a" extends as a result. 

m" extends fiirther as a result. 
*10. Make an "i" instroke. "m" slightly follows. 

1 1 . Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends fiirther as a result. 

12. Make a "p" outstroke. 

13. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "c", "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their 
palm points. 

14. Go to step 2. 



6. Make an "m" outstroke. 
*7. Make an "m" instroke. 

8. Make an "m" outstroke. 

9. Make an "i" outstroke. 



caa ammmii ipp 



m 



XXXXAXXXXXXX 



tt4'1^t>l^ttNl^'T''t4' 



12 Note Rasgueado 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 
*3. Make a "c" instroke. 

4. Make a "c" outstroke. 

5. Make an "a" outstroke. 



'c" extends fiirther as a result. 



*6. Make an "a" instroke. "c" follows but does not fiilly contract or touch its palm point. 
7. Make an "a" outstroke. 



-25- 



© Nitin Arora 



8. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends further as a result. 

*9. Make an "m" instroke. "a" follows but does not fully contract or touch its palm point. 

10. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends as a result. 

1 1 . Make an "i" outstroke. "m" extends further as a result. 

12. Make a "p" outstroke. 

13. Make a "p" instroke. simultaneously, "c", "a", "m", and "i" contract back to their 
palm points. 

14. Go to step 2. 



ccc 44a mmmipp 



^)j>j>!)j>j)j>j)j)j)j)j)j : j 



12 Note Rasgueado 

1 . Assume the fist position. 

2. Make a "c" outstroke. 
*3. Make a "c" instroke. 

4. Make a "c" outstroke. 

5. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends further as a result. 

*6. Make an "a" instroke. "c" follows but does not fully contract or touch its palm point. 

7. Make an "a" outstroke. "c" extends as a result. 

8. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends fiirther as a result. 

*9. Make an "m" instroke. "a" follows but does not fully contract or touch its palm point. 

10. Make an "m" outstroke. "a" extends as a result. 

11. Make an "i" outstroke. simultaneously, "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their 
palm points. 

*12. Make an "i" instroke. 

13. Make an "i" outstroke. 

14. Make a "c" outstroke. simultaneously, "i" contracts back to its pakn point. 

15. Go to step 3. 

ccc 4a.a mmmii i 



Wxxxxxxxxxxxx : l 



Just as with the combinatory rasgueado s you must keep rhythmic grouping in 



mind. 



-26 



© Nitin Arora 



My biggest fear is that someone using this book will develop good rasgueado 
technique but will not know how to incorporate rasgueados properly into a piece of music. 
Therefore, I've included a few examples of rasgueado sequences using the Group 1 : 5 
Note Rasgueado so that you can see how to incorporate rasgueados properly. 



Figure 1 



tip: "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their palm points during the "i" outstroke which 
falls on the first beat of each measure. Since the 5 note rasgueado is followed by an "i" 
outstroke you will not make any contractions during the "i" outstroke which occurs within 
the 5 note rasgueado. 



c a m 1 1 1 



7)j X X X x X X X X X X : j 



Figure 2 

tip : "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their palm points during the "i" outstroke which 
falls on the first beat of each measvire. Since the second 5 note rasgueado is followed by 
an "i" outstroke you will not make any contractions during the "i" outstroke which occurs 
within the second 5 note rasgueado. 

i i camiicamiii i 



^)j ^ )j)j)j)j)j)j)j)j)j>j)j >l ^ 1 



Figure 3 

option #1 tip : "c", "a", and "m" will contract back to their palm points during the "i" 
outstroke which occurs within the 5 note rasgueados. Therefore, the "i" outstroke and "i" 
instroke which occur on the 3rd beat of the measure are made with "c", "a", and "m" 
already contracted. 



27- 



© Nitin Arora 



Option #2 tip: "c", "a", and "m" contract back to their palm points during the "i" 
outstroke which falls on the 3rd beat of each measure. Since the second 5 note rasgueado 
is followed by an "i" outstroke you will not make any contractions during the "i" outstroke 
which occurs within the second 5 note rasgueado. 



camiicamii i 




.i ,1 >i J .1 J 



-t't't I^Nl^'h'tl^ 'T'4''^ 



^ 



Figures 4 & 5: Rasgueado with golpe 

If you are familiar with the flamenco technique of golpe then you might be aware 
of the problems which arise during a rasgueado sequence in which golpes are present. 
The act of making a golpe often eats up valuable time in which you should be contracting 
the fingers. Golpes are notated by "G". 

Figure 4 

tip: This is the traditional fingering for such as passage. Since the 5 note rasgueado is 
followed by an "i" outstroke you will not make any contractions during the "i" outstroke 
which occurs within the 5 note rasgueado. Also, because you must make the golpe you 
will not be able to contract "c", "a", and "m" during the "i" outstroke which falls on the 
3rd beat of the measure. You must, in this case, contract them back to their pahn points 
just ever so slightly after the "i" instroke which falls on the second half of the 3rd beat. 
This can be done since the "i" instroke is an eighth note and you will have more time. 



c a mil 



jj J J J J )l . 



X X 



^ 1^ t 'f vj/ '^ 



^^ 



G 



4- 



Figure 5 



tip: This alternative fingering for the same passage uses the 5 note rasgueado from the 
combinatory rasgueados. You will contract "c", "a", and "m" dviring the "i" outstroke 
which begins the 5 note combinatory rasgueado. This will make things easier and 
smoother and you do not have to change the moment at which the fingers should contract. 



-28 



© Nitin Arora 



1 a m 1 1 1 



^)j)j)j)j)j)j j A A : l 



These examples of rasgueado sequences can, of course, be thought of as 
combinatory rasgueados themselves. Remember this when you are faced with learning a 
sequence that I've not covered. Also, you should substitute the 5 note rasgueados in the 
examples with 3 and 4 note rasgueados from Group 1 . Eventually you will be able to 
incorporate any rasgueado pattern into your playing. Just remember that the fingers must 
be set up before it's too late. 



29 



© Nitin Arora 



All photographs by Christopher William Stock 

The visual dictionary contains photographic sequences or "visual definitions" of all 
of the primary rasgueados. Photos that have "DNR" below them are not repeated. 
"DNR" signifies "do not repeat". Obviously, "DNR" must be written under the first 
photo of each page since that will be the fist, or starting, position. If there is any doubt 
please refer to the chapters on primary rasgueados. 

The photographs were purposely not taken of a hand playing the guitar as I felt it 
more important that you see the palmar side if the hand. 

The photographs are "read" fi-om left to right. I hope you find these photos 
helpfiil. 



-30 



Group 1 : 2 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




DNR 





Group 1 : 3 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 





DNR 



DNR 






Group 1 : 4 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




DNR 





DNR 






Group 1 : 5 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 






DNR 






Group 2: 2 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 





DNR 




DNR 




Group 2: 3 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 






DNR 



DNR 





Group 2: 4 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 





DNR 




DNR 






Group 3: 2 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




W 



m 




W^' 



^f 



DNR 




Group 3: 3 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 





3 




DNR 



DNR 





Group 3: 4 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 






DNR 



DNR 









Group 3: 5 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




DNR 






r-' 





Group 4: 2 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




-j^ 




DNR 




Group 4: 3 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 






DNR 




Group 4: 4 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 






DNR 



DNR 






Group 4: 5 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 




DNR 





DNR 




m 



& 



Wf 



M 





Group 4: 6 Note Rasgueado 



© Nitin Arora 





DNR 




1 



1& 






© Nitin Arora 



w orjc Utts ton 

I hope you've enjoyed reading this boolc and working with it as much as I have 
enjoyed writing it. Please be patient and strive for quality in your work. I'll say it again 
...pay extremely close attention to the act of contracting your fingers to their pakn points 
at the right moment. If you don't you are going to hit a brick wall. It's that simple. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that for certain patterns, such as the Group 3: 2 
note rasgueado and Group 4: 3 note rasgueado, you can replace the "i" outstroke with an 
"m" outstroke. You could also replace "i" with "c" or "a" if you feel like it. With these 
patterns you can even substitute the "i" outstroke with a big finger outstroke. In other 
words, you could make the outstroke with "c", "a", "m", and "i" aU at once. Other 
combinations of the big finger are also possible as well, such as "i" and "m" together. 

You also probably noticed that no rasgueado patterns in this book contain 
consecutive outstrokes of more than one finger followed by consecutive instrokes of the 
same fingers {halfrasgueados). An example of a half rasgueado would be: 
"a" outstroke, "m" outstroke, "i" outstroke, "i" instroke, "m" instroke", "a" instroke. 
Every instroke in this book is immediately followed by an outstroke of some kind. The 
consecutive instrokes of half rasgueados will not allow for tip joint flexion when returning 
to the fist position. This creates unnecessary tension in the hand and makes subsequent 
outstrokes extremely awkward. Unlike a finger which makes an instroke and immediate 
outstroke, this is "bad tension" and is not immediately released by the outstroke. In hah" 
rasgueados you must "hang on" to the "bad tension" so that all the fingers can complete 
their instrokes. Also, at faster speeds you would need to actually add more tension in the 
hand to even things out in a rhythmic sense (otherwise the instrokes would sound like one 
big finger instroke). For these reasons I strongly discourage you from practising these 
types of rasgueados. They sound as awkward as they look. 

If your goal is to have rasgueados down well enough so that you don't have to 
worry about them anymore, I recommend that you pick 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 note patterns 
that use the fingers only and also pick 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 note patterns that incorporate 
the thumb and really concentrate on your ten "chosen" patterns. That'll take care of 
anything you'll encounter in pieces. Being able to do both "finger only" patterns and 
thumb patterns increases your options in terms of effect. 

Another type of "rasgueado" that will come in handy are tremolo rasgueados. 
These are highly affective but are not true rasgueados. An example of this would be a big 
finger outstroke followed by instrokes such as: big finger outstroke, "a" instroke, "m" 
instroke, "i" instroke. 

Finally, I hope that rasgueados will add a new dimension to your playing and 
practise. There is so much that you can do with them. For example, pick a "finger only" 
rasgueado pattern or tremolo rasgueado pattern and play a C Major tremolo scale in thirds 
on strings 1 (high E) and 2 while the thumb rests on string 3. 

-47- 



© Nitin Arora 



It's all up to you now. 



-48 



List your favorite rasgueado patterns here. 



© Nitin Arora 



© Nitin Arora 



Addendum 

This page serves as a place for me to clarify matters without having to reformat the 
page layouts of the book. 

pg 47, paragraph #1 : It should be noted that as one gains more control over their 
extensors and general right hand stability while executing rasgueados, fmger contraction 
and will diminish somewhat. In other words, the original 'fist' position will open up and 
not all of the fingers will necessarily touch their respective palm points (tip joint flexion 
will decrease too) after contraction. Finger outsrokes, of course, only need to go far 
enough to play the strings you want to play. In the end, it will all depend on your 
preferences and on what effect you are seeking. Keep in mind that rasgueados, in the end, 
are almost more about a physical gesture, rather than all these individual instructions. 

pg 47, paragraph #3, last 2 sentences: Ok, I'm still not a fan of these types of rasgueados, 
but it was a little unfair of me to be so harsh -that's your job! 

pg 47, paragraph #5, sentence #2: "affective" should be "effective" 



Ordering information is available on http://humaneguitarisi.org 
or by emailing nitaro74@yahoo.com